Blood Oath Bourbon Pact No. 9
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed December 24, 2023 (edited February 7, 2024)This is my 4th blood oath, never been impressed, but always found them interesting and even the rum finished didn't leave me feeling it down on these (maybe over priced). I'd decided I was done however....and then they did Oloroso Sherry AND used 16 year old bourbon? Well ok...lets give this a shot. 150 seems to be the standard price, not sure why distiller thinks MSRP is 130. Costco Price? To do this I like I tend to do....poured all my blood oaths to make sure I could provide a more nuanced difference. I have 19, 20, 21 and 23 here. Nose - Light on fruits with a big milk chocolate coco powder over rich leathery oak. Honestly, really exactly what I'd wanted here. I've always found the blood oaths are over the top on oak, especially given they use sub 10 year bourbons in the blends. But Oloroso and oak are a really nice combo so I knew this had potential. Light raspberry vanilla undertones as well. Vs the rest - this is by FAR the driest and most oak forward. The others all seem to have their own style of sweet. This one leans to that coco powder for sweetness while letting the back end carry a nice bourbon sugar note. This one just comes off more sophisticated. Taste - Flat on arrival yet silky smooth. Quickly however is erupts in flavors. But there's a clean sweetness up front. Followed by this kinda soapy note I get on nearly all of these blood oaths (especially the cognac....of course the other "normal" cask finishing). Oaks and leathers then rise up, a lot of tannins. Then on the back end red fruits, raisins, prunes, figs, all come forward. Really setting this apart from most bourbons is a clear 3rd if not 4th wave of flavors on almost what I'd call the after finish. This is an exceptional sign of quality. I'll get back to final thoughts however. The comp? Well the Cognac which I really have liked today is coming off really soapy bitter, i mean it's still sweet as heck xo cognac here too but theres this note I can't get past. Good mouthfeel, more oily than dry. Good. The Sauternes is drinking so weird I think I mixed up the rum and sauternes. But yeah...it's not coming off like there's much of a finish. Drying, over oaked, poorly blended bourbon vs the others. Rum - again I can't believe I didn't mix these up but I'm digging it. OK maybe a hint of a flintstone vitamin giving me some sour fruits. But it's pretty good. So overall and vs the others. I like this one a lot. 150 bucks good? Yeah, I think in 2023 with today's prices this is about right. It isn't a wow bottle and it isn't a must get. it's a reasonable value that gives you a really nice complex experience but I'm not sure it all comes together to be the sum of all those fun parts. Where the vs comes in is that compared to this all the others had seemingly overt flaws that can be off putting. This one...it's just good. I'll have to go back to the Sauternes when it's not next to some of these more active casks, I recall that one being much better. Anyway if you're into big oak and sherry bourbon, you really should get one of these if it's in the budget. For everyone else, get a bar pour and call it a day unless 150 isn't an expensive bottle to you. I'll go 2.75. Average is 2.0. 3.0 is exceptional. 4.0 is perfect. And 5.0 is life changing.150.0 USD per Bottle
New Riff Winter Whiskey
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed December 18, 2023 (edited December 21, 2023)Young bourbon made with a stupid gimmick someone's gonna excuse cause they hired a beer guy to make their whisk(e)y? I'll take a case! Nose is light citrus with light ethanol...its bourbon. Oh ok...chocolate, vanilla, oats, hell I'm getting rootbeer. It's not RICH or decadent, but it's really really something nice, a change of pace, and ok...it's kinda awesome. Taste - yeah it's new riff if you know that. But it's young 4 year bourbon with chocolate chip cookie notes, oatmeal notes, hints of toffee. Yeah it's a bit youthful, it's got some citrus which doesn't go with cookies. Look - I'm downplaying this because as a whisky guy....it's not our traditional whisky.I just wanted to have fun. Honestly - this is the best 50 dollar whiskey I've had in years...it's 55 now. Oh well. I do think this year's was a HAIR worse than last. Oh well. If you want a chocolate oatmeal forward young bourbon with more oak notes than you'd expect. Get this. If you don't....still get it! I'm iffy on score but I think 2.75 is about right. I could go higher, and for PRICE, it's a 4 star! But buy this in a second people! It's 125 dollar whisky in 2023 for 55.55.0 USD per Bottle
Jefferson's Tropics Aged in Humidity
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed December 1, 2023 (edited February 7, 2024)After a certain drummer themed bourbon channel recommended this i decided to give this a go. I still have a warm place in my hear from the days of Jefferson's Presidential bottles...being available. So hoping for good stuff. nose - Well they added a boat load (no pun intended) of oak to a clearly young bourbon. This is different. It still has that kentucky bourbon feel vs say a Texas bottle. Light citrus...basic bourbon notes. Taste - This is a flavor bomb. This is reminding me of a top barrel rick house single of some of these younger distilleries. Intense oak over youthful and still somewhat vegetal based bourbon. Honestly it's a 1.0 but I'll give it a full .5 stars for the huge flavor and presence. But yeah...below average stuff, just a flavor bomb for those chasing more flavor but not that picky.99.99 USD per Bottle
Kyrö Wood Smoke Malt Rye
Rye — FinlandReviewed November 19, 2023 (edited November 21, 2023)Didn't expect to see this here. Nose - Up front it's youthful wood, very raw with some level of winter green mint, and as I dig in the caramel malt richness comes out. OK...kinda rye bourbon like. That's a lot of wood. The malt is here too, it's sweeter and richer and heavier than an american rye non malt. Oh anis notes. ok fine vanilla and some bacon. Some pure sugar notes. Taste - Cherry, chewy oak, smoked anis, funky oak. Finish is long smoky notes. This just screams small barrel oak, funky young notes...but so well done. Final thoughts - water doesn't change much, but don't do it. Anyway, think texas whisky but softer. I'll give it a 2.0. It's weird, it's different, but it's pretty average whisky. This is like 50 bucks, and it's unique. I'd say it's worth it, but there's a lot of "worth it" things to try.
Balvenie The Week of Peat 17 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandReviewed November 10, 2023 (edited November 16, 2023)*apologies ahead of time, my "reviews" here are generally free form notes as I drink vs a formal review, but this one went extreme in a lack of structure" Been eyeing this for way too long. About 100 bucks in the UK, coming in at an insane 49.4% which is nearing CS from Balvenie. Nose - I'll just start by saying at first it's really lacking. A good 15 minutes in the glass and oily glue was kinda what I got. A bit of an earthy, clearly peated, element was there as well. It's a much more earthy peat than say an islay, but clearly this is a heavy peat. A few slight swirls followed by a full coaching tart fruits, aggressive alcohol, good very hard to place and generic smoke (think caol lila), and a good vanilla kick. So far it's ever changing and rather interesting. I would say, not super inviting. More time and I am getting a distinct honey note which is moving this up. Taste - Just a flavor bomb here. That higher abv really is showing itself with intensity of flavor. The overall malt is a bit sour which is off profile for balvenie. Giving way to lighter fruits. The show however is the smoke and this very clean muddy peat note. Your mouth is just left with alcoholic clean peat smoke. I really want to compare this to a standard 14 year, all I have open is a 2003 and that's just too good to be a fair comp. But for science, we must compare what we got. The 2003 is pretty similar but distinctly different. More minerality. Sweeter up front but more bitter on the finish. Smoke is more "obvious" in that it's perhaps more a wood smoke. The balvenie sweetness is turned up. The 17 year has the longer finish. The smoke notes really peak on the finish while the smoke is midpalate on the 14. The finish on the 17 is 10x longer, we're not even talking in the same league here. But by contrast the arrival is softer, lighter, more closed and simple. The 17 is a roller coaster climbing up the hill for a insane fast down hill. The 14 is balanced with it getting pretty intense quickly and just hanging on and lingering. Given the price point is about the same for the 14 as the 17 US vs UK. They're really worth picking up both as you're not spending wildly more for the older expression at all. I'd guess US it would be 100 vs 150, but who knows with US pricing these days. Final thoughts. Maybe I'm maturing with time or maybe the greek yogurt I had an hour ago is causing me issues. Either way I think my love of these whiskies are fallen a bit. What used to be this perfectly sweet and balanced whisky is not a bit sharp, a bit acidic, and frankly a touch bitter. It's still a lovely whisky don't get me wrong at all. But I'm finding myself ever evolving and oddly I'm finding I'm becoming a bigger fan of bourbon and more traditional younger peated expressions. Anyway it seems the niche that this and the Macallan Classic Cut once were outstanding whiskies. Now the Classic Cut is almost undrinkable and this is just a very nice change of pace, but not something with staying power. 3.5 and I'd adjust my prior scores down a quarter each based on this. This is an outstanding value buy and I may very well argue it's the best value I've had in 2023... You know what? I forgot water! OK with water - I'm getting a lemon lime and smoke that dead on is the fruits of laphroig and the peat of springbank! That's a hell of a note! no need to adjust my prior statement on score, but for sure water is a nice change. It did dry out the oils and makes it a bit sharper on the tongue. Not unpleasant just different. Anyway - this is a buy all day if you can get it under 130 from the UK. So make this this next "buddy bottle" and you'll be thrilled. I wouldn't put in an order just for this. All and all, a great expression from this distillery, but this has sold me on not spending the premium on the 19 year expression. Age isn't taking this in the direction I'd hope. Final note - I used paypal to buy this so the exchange rate was pretty bad. 119 and change was the final all in cost. 100% a happy buy.119.0 USD per Bottle
Russell's Reserve 13 Year Bourbon (2022 Release)
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed October 31, 2023 (edited November 19, 2023)I guess I'll review it under this. Given there are sometimes 2 batches a year this method being used here isn't gonna work well. 2022/5/25 Nose - stately and yet youthful and off. A combination of aspartame, vanilla, caramel, and a strangely high oak and yet...funk note. This is classic wild turkey! Turned up to 13? I get red fruits, cinnamon, hazelnut, and it's lovely. Taste - While the nose, I may have focused on funk too much, the taste is WAY more on the funk. Old whisky notes with over the top oak and rich funky again aspartame and more custardy funk. I love this stuff. It's a wonderfully old and yet not old and stately whiskey! Turkey has found a way to do old without refinement but with some real power and force. I just compared this to knob 12 CS and the ECBP C923, it doesn't really hold up. But as it's own thing, I love it. 2.75. Great CS fun stuff, but nothing exceptional.
Compass Box The Circle No. 2
Blended — ScotlandReviewed October 18, 2023 (edited October 21, 2023)I kept passing on this one because my local shop incorrectly priced it at over 200. But they finally brought it to 144 which seemed fair and of course...all but ONE box somehow got seriously damaged! So I grabbed the pristine box and pulled the trigger. Nose - hot damn, this is a mix of orchard and tropical fruits. Clean, with a hint of wax, and light spice notes. But overall this is one of the most fruity and enticing noses I've experienced from Compass Box. Honestly, it's outstanding! Taste - It arrives with these lovely honey and tropical fruit notes, turns to light spice and rich breakfast sweet pastry notes, then turns up the spice to very european type sherry oak notes before leaving a long lingering sweetness. Oddly with so many references to sherry, the color is pretty nice gold but hardly the red hues you'd expect. That said I get plenty of sherry but perfectly blended with nice classic compass box toasted oak notes. They really gave this whisky the richness and the fullness of a very old whisky while turning some youthful spice into a feature and not a flaw. 3.75 - one of my favorite Compass Box Bottles in a number of years. This is a whisky that punches well above it's weight.
Longrow 18 Year
Single Malt — Campbeltown, ScotlandReviewed October 11, 2023 (edited October 12, 2023)2021 relase Too lazy to add or look further. Nose - Sour white wine with smoke notes, sugar cookies and so so inviting. Love how the smoke builds as it's in the glass. Taste - This is such a difference from the normal longrow 18 with this white wine note. Sweet, rich, mouth feel is great for a longrow. I love this one. Salty brine. I love it. Giving this a 4.0 one of my favorite longrows yet.230.0 USD per Bottle
Bardstown Bourbon Co. Discovery Series #11
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed October 11, 2023 (edited February 8, 2024)Oh my! This is special! OK so I tried this over the weekend at the bourbon on the banks event and instantly took one home! Nose - that old whisky varnish is the first thing that jumps out! Woot! Rich caramel and vanilla with wheat notes, soil, dirty, think the cleanest turkey funk ever. Rich oak as well, god this is rich and yet that wheated whisky is adding this clean funky and sweet n ote. Taste - At first it's just sweet kentucky bourbon. Very good, but lacking. A second sip however lingers forever. The age jumps out of the glass and once again that tiny bit of 6 year wheated bourbon is doing magic to these older whiskies. This is different from the 1-4 which were all great, 1 being the only one I didn't get...never saw one to buy, but had it. This is richer and longer lasting while not being as aged and perhaps "classic high end bourbon". Instead it's still got a lot of great notes of high end bourbon, but it's got it's own truly imo unique character. 3.5 I think. I'm buying another I think. This is just too unique a bourbon to not get a back up.140.0 USD per Bottle
Lagavulin The Ink of Legends (2023 Special Release)
Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed October 11, 2023 (edited October 12, 2023)Really, no 12 year? Anyway...another 20 cl review. Nose - classic lag 12...and then the finish is...kinda vegetal. I feel there's little need to dive into what a lag 12 smells like here. But that vegetal note is weird. There might also be a bit more sweetness here. It's oddly familiar and not messed up with the tequila finish and yet...lag 12 has proven even the slightest variation can turn it from a master piece to a disaster. Taste - yeah it's "smooth" and in that I mean unlike the 2019 where the astringency went WILD, this is very much like Lion's Fire in that it's creamy and easy to drink. It's sweeter than expected as well. The vanillas and the "lagavaulin" version of iodine is held back. The smoke is also less. That said the peat and the SMOKE might be higher here. The finish is way longer than the 2017 which I've got poured as a control. There's a bit of bitterness that's unwanted here. And I think despite a great viscous mouth feel, better than the 2017. And despite the longer and fuller finish. That note is just off putting. Every time I go back to the 2017, it's like a breath of fresh air. It's so much just...better. Forget flavors it's about the way the whisky comes together. There's this level of balance and structure and the quality of maturation of the distillate that sometimes gets lost in our never ending tasting notes. That's not what lag 12 is about. It not about tasting notes. I think I underrated the lag 12 when I scored the 2017 and 2018. So I think I'll give this a 2.75, but I think it's a step behind both by a bit. I gave the 2020 a 3.75 which I think is maybe a bit high but very fair because it was so good. Any conclusion here as this one deserves it! This is a very nice version of lag 12 that isn't at ALL nearly as off profile and weird as I expected. It's got some off notes and it's different, but the 2019 was more off and weird than this is. If prices weren't getting out of control, this would honestly be one I'd get to remember down the road. But they have...so pass.